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Established in 1986

‘Andante Percussion’ was formally established by Sam and Frank Hodgen in November 1986. Sam and Frank were both experienced band players with over 80 years’ collective experience as musicians.
The inspiration for the business came about when the pipe band with which Sam and Frank were playing in at the time, were experiencing technical problems with their drums.

The structure of the drums, being used, were not sufficiently strong to adapt to the new woven ‘Kevlar Top’ playing head.

Sam sought to search the market for a better performing alternative, however was unable to acquire a product which was an improvement over what the band was already working with. It was at this point where the idea of designing and producing a world class drum product was conceived in Rathfriland, Co.Down.

Outside of music, Sam had gained over twenty years’ experience in engineering and design. He was able to apply this experience to the design and manufacture of a new drum. This new drum would soon become known as the globally acclaimed ‘Andante drum.’

30 years on, the business is now in the process of extending its products, factory and workforce in a bid to meet growing demand. The custom finish (provided by Andante) sets the brand apart from its rivals, and provides customers with an opportunity to tailor the product to suit their bespoke specification.

Andante intend to continuously explore and advance the technology and design of Percussion Instruments for Marching Bands across the world. Andante products are now being used by well renowned Marching Bands and Solo Drummers worldwide. The profile of Andante’s customers is testament to the unrivalled quality of the product.

Andante is proud to be a family owned market leading business.

The journey of Andante is humble but also mesmerising and exceptional. See below for a brief timeline of our journey thus far:


Our History


At the World Solo's in 1986, Andantes Prototype Snare Drum was seen for the very first time. Sam managed to spark a lot of interest in the product and started to make a name for Andante by securing 2 orders. This then lead into more research and development and the launch of the SPA 30 in 1987.


Seen the development and expansion to the Andante Range with the introduction of the Original Series Bass and Tenors.


More research and development on the Snare Drum which lead to the launch of the DTS 4 later that year.


Seen development to the accessory range with a Bass Harness, Slings, Bass and Tenor Sticks, a Practice Pad and Cases.


More research and development on the Snare Drum continued and towards the end of 95 the DTS 6s was on the market.


Andante launch several new products; including Drumsticks, an extended range of Bass Drums for Marching Bands and the development of the Andante Drumkit.


Andante develop a series of new Snare Drums (including the DTS6s), Bass and Tenor Ranges.


Andante launch several new products; including Drumsticks, an extended range of Bass Drums for Marching Bands and the development of the Andante Drumkit.


Andante maintain continuous development of the full range of company products.


Was a momentous year in the Andante Calender, as this saw the company achieve one of it's ambitions, by sponsoring the prestigious 'World Solo Drumming Championships' held in Bathgate, Scotland and is still being sponsored by Andante today.


Andante develop and manufacture the Reactor Snare Drum.


This year signalled another period for expansion at Andante, with the construction of a new building to facilitate the development and manufacture of the Core-tec Head.


The company develops research techniques to improve its products. In addition, the company advances colour ranges and the manufacturing of the TG Drumming products.


Andante develop the 7” Snare Drum, and the extended range of Tenor Drums. The company also invest in the purchase of manufacturing equipment for the Andante Snare Drumstick, and the development of the custom range Snare drumstick. In addition, the company adds bespoke soft-cases to its case range, along with new practice pads and hand towels to the Andante accessory range.


Sam Hodgen begins further development of the Andante range, through exploring new products and innovations. Unfortunately Sam (Andante founder) was not able to see these products through, as he passed away on the 4th February 2009. Sam’s engineering influence can be seen through the design of many of the latest Andante ‘Next Generation’ products.


This year signalled a new era for the company as it continues the research and development of the new ‘Andante Advance Military series’ drum.


This year saw the launch of the ‘Andante Advance Military series’. Furthermore, during this year the research and development of the ‘Pro Bass’ and ‘Tenors’ began to take shape.


Andante complete research and launch the new ‘Pro Bass & Pro Tenor series’ drums. Towards the end of this year, further research and development got underway to update the stick range and Snare Drum range.


In March 2012 Andante introduce the ‘Quantum Tenor Drumstick’ to the accessory range.


In May 2012 Andante launch the ‘Next Generation Reactor Snare Drum’ and add a ‘Ghost Chrome finish’ to the Custom metalwork range.


Andante develop and manufacture 15” and 20” sizes to extend the ‘Pro Tenor Series’ Range. The company also add a new Black Chrome design to its custom metalwork finishes.


This year saw further developments to the ‘Pro Bass Series’ with the introduction of the 24” and 26”size range.


In June 2016, first Minister Arlene Foster pictured with Oonagh Hinds, Invest NI, Nigel Hodgen, Andante Percussion and Northern Ireland fans with exclusive drums by the Rathfriland firm for the Euro Championships in France. This summer marks the firms 30th anniversary and 30 years since Northern Ireland took part in a football event.


In July a new state of the art stick manufacturing facility was erected and seen the launch of the six times world solo drumming champion Steven McWhirter stick.


The development of the Elite head was in conjunction with many world renowned Top Grade 1 bands and solo players, who selected Andante as their leading choice in marching percussion.
In August Inveraray & District Pipe Band won the World Pipe Band championships in Grade 1.


In November Tangi Le Boucher lead drummer of Cap Caval won the 2017 Brittany Solo Drumming Championships held on the 11th November in Pontivy.
Towards the end of this year, further research and development got underway and we started smelting our castings in house.


In January Grant Cassidy won the Gold Medal Drumming champion title at the MHAF Winter Storm competition held in Kansas USA.


Leading Drummer ‘Steven McWhirter’ of Inveraray & District PB claimed his 10th World Solo Drumming Title at World Solo Drumming champion sponsored by Andante.

History Gallery